Friday, March 18, 2016

Narcissus 'Topolino'

Narcissus 'Topolino'

This one has grown on me over the years, and now it's a firm favorite. When the flowers are freshly picked they have a delicious scent. It's not the smallest daffodil in the garden by far, but it's still well within the cute range.
Topolino is the Italian name for Mickey Mouse. Be sure to check out the wikipedia page for Topolino: that little guy has had quite a career.

Daffodils say Hello!

Daffodils greet both spring and visitors!

A group of daffodils in a Chinese pen holder greet visitors at our front door this week. 

The Orcs among us

Anti-vine hysteria wins again 

Why do people do this? Who's teaching people that it's OK to do this? Will they vote for Trump?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A dog and frog duet

Biscuit gets her main meal of the day at about 1:30 P.M. She spends most of the morning keeping her eye on me or snoozing nearby if I'm working at my desk. She can tell time: you would not know that she is nearby most of the morning, but as 1:30 approaches she becomes more alert. She will come nearby and quietly sit there looking at me. If that does not have the desired result, she will make a soft growl. If that does not work, she will begin to bark.
Once I get the signal, we go off to the kitchen to get her meal ready. Usually that means something goes into the microwave oven. She barks while the food is warming up.
Today she had some company in the barking. Each time she barked, the wood frog in the garden pond answered. Biscuit barked, the frog croaked - over and over. It got me laughing! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Crocus tommasinianus, the amethyst and pewter crocus

Crocus tommasinianus "amethyst and pewter' 
The crocuses in the image above are Crocus tommasinianus in one of its many forms. This crocus is sometimes seen naturalized in lawns here in the greater Washington, D.C. area. If I could have only one crocus for this season, this would be the one. 
In particular, I would want what I'm calling here the amethyst and pewter form, the ones with a marked contrast between the pewter colored outers and the vivid amethyst inners. I would not know where to send you to buy these: the named forms of Crocus tommasinianus such as 'Baur's Purple', 'Ruby Giant', 'Whitewell Purple' and so on don't show this pattern to advantage if at all.  And if you order something called Crocus tommasinianus you won't know until they bloom if they are the more delicate wild forms or simply a mixture of these named, cultivated forms. 
The ones naturalized in the garden here show this amethyst and pewter combination to varying degrees. My favorites are the ones shown above where the contrast between the pewter and the amethyst is strong. 

Colchicum hungaricum, a colchicum for late winter bloom

Colchicum hungaricum 'Valentine'
If you are new to this group of plants, you probably associate the name colchicum with plants which bloom in late summer and early autumn. But there are some which bloom very late in the autumn, and some which bloom in late winter. Here's one of the late winter bloomers: Colchicum hungaricum. I grow two of the forms now making the rounds: 'Valentine' (seen above) and 'Velebit Star' (which has white flowers). These are smaller plants than the big late summer blooming hybrids, but at this time of year they have no competition from those big ones. 

Geese on the move

Geese, probably Canada geese, on their way northward. 

One of the really thrilling sounds of the season is that of geese on the move.While working out in the garden the other day, I heard them off in the distance. They flew over me before I actually spotted them - lots of them., way up there. There are about ninety geese in this chevron. This photograph was made on February 29, 2016.